Watchdog Calls on Key Senate Committee to Demand Pause on Inaugural Protest Permitting, Full Investigation
Trump’s Interior Secretary and National Park Service Ignoring Credible Terrorist Threats to America
Washington, D.C. – Today, after continued credible threats of additional violence aimed at interrupting the peaceful transfer of power outlined in the U.S. Constitution, government watchdog Accountable.US sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee requesting that it use the full extent of its constitutional authority to obligate Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to cancel all permits and reject all applications for demonstrations or special events at National Parks within the District of Columbia until January 24, 2021 and conduct a full investigation.
“Secretary Bernhardt holds the authority to send a direct message to insurrections that the violent attempts to subvert the successful and peaceful transition of presidential power will not be tolerated. His inaction to this point appears to be capitulation to the clear and present dangers we face at this critical time,” said Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US president.
Earlier today, The Washington Post reported that the entire National Mall, overseen by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), will be closed for Inauguration Day, only accessible by media and security personnel. The National Park Service did not confirm the report according to breaking reporting by E&E News.
However, the park service is still ‘processing’ several permits for demonstrations or special events, including inauguration protests by DC Action Lab and Let America Hear Us, Roar for Trump scheduled to begin as early as tomorrow. It is still unclear if Secretary Bernhardt or the park service have denied those permits.
Washington, D.C.’s mayor has also requested that Secretary Bernhardt temporarily cancel and reject National Mall permits due to credible threats of violence. Neither the secretary nor the park service have responded.
Read the full letter below or here.
January 14, 2021
U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Chairperson Lisa Murkowski
Ranking Member Joe Manchin
304 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
Chairperson Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin,
Intelligence officials have confirmed credible threats of additional violence aimed at interrupting the peaceful transfer of power outlined in the U.S. Constitution. I am writing you today with an urgent request that the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee act to defend democracy and the safety of the presidential inauguration by demanding that the U.S. Department of Interior cancel all permits and reject all applications for demonstrations or special events at National Parks within the District of Columbia until January 24, 2021.
Additionally, the violent, illegal insurrection inspired by President Donald Trump and others on January 6 that resulted in damage and theft of government and personal property, and the injuries and deaths of numerous people including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, demands a full investigation into authorizations, records, and chain of command communications from U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and National Park Service officials.
At a time of unprecedented threats to the foundations of our democracy, Secretary Bernhardt has abdicated his responsibility to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” He has abandoned his obligation to maintain and protect federal property. Inaction and acquiescence are capitulation to the clear and present dangers we face at this critical time. Never before has Bernhardt’s failure to do his Senate-confirmed job so seriously threatened American freedom and the rule of law.
Again, I call on your committee to conduct a full investigation of these matters and to use the full extent of its constitutional authority to obligate Secretary Bernhardt to act swiftly to protect the peaceful transfer of power.